06 April 2012
The annual increase is broken down and consolidated for sustainment, new endeavors.
The education students receive at Missouri Baptist University will come with a higher price tag beginning fall 2012.
The 5.5 percent increase in tuition and fees approved by the Missouri Baptist Board of Trustees Feb. 23 applies to all full-time undergraduate students on the main campus.
“This is no different from what we have always done in the past,” said Terry Dale Cruse, vice president for enrollment services.
Cruse added that tuition rates increase annually and that MBU strives to keep its costs lower than the national average for both public and private universities, which all saw an average increase of 6.8 percent in their fees during the 2011-12 academic year.
All full-time students living on the main campus were informed of the changes to next year’s tuition in an email Feb. 24.
“Our strategic plan calls for increases in the 5 to 7 percent range but we try to keep that at the lower end,” MBU President R. Alton Lacey said in an email. “Tuition is not our only means of new revenue. We also have a small endowment, gifts and of course increases in enrollment which help to keep the tuition increases lower.”
Although keeping costs low is important, educating students is always the top priority.
“Providing a quality education in an environment of Christian faith remains our number one goal,” Cruse said in an email. “Strategic planning, prudent financial management, and contributions from donors help offset additional costs of education.”
Undergraduate tuition for 12-18 hours in 2011-12 was $9,350 per semester, which will increase to $9,865 per semester for the upcoming 2012-13 academic year, but students will no longer see a $16-per-credit-hour technology fee on their bill.
Tuition, room, board and fee schedules can be found at http://www.mobap.edu/costs.
Cruse said approximately one half of all annual tuition increases are used to fund scholarships and this year will be no exception.
Specifically, 50 percent of the increased tuition will fund the $2,000 resident scholarships given to students living on the main campus.
“Enrollment has increased 28 percent since 2006 and by 19 percent since fall 2008,” said Cruse. “Often, the revenue generated by increased student enrollment trails the actual expense involved in getting those students on campus in the first place.
“Providing services to these growing numbers of students necessitates increases in tuition and fees,” Cruse said.
In addition to funding scholarships for incoming students, much of the revenue generated by the increased tuition will finance construction of a new 106-bed residence hall.
Remaining funds will be applied to overhead costs generated by the Petty Sports and Recreation Complex that was completed in October 2011.
“Last year’s budget would not have funded that facility,” Cruse said.
Although increased enrollment also means an increase in revenue, new tuition rates are still necessary.
“When we develop a budget we start with the funds needed for mandatory increases in items such as utilities, insurance, technology license fees and urgent repairs,” Lacey said in an email. “Then we look at strategic increases such as any salary increases, new faculty, new programs, etc. It is a balancing act to meet our needs and keep tuition as low as possible.”
Increased costs are not the only changes affecting student billing next year.
The email sent to students added that, starting in the fall semester, students will see a “student services fee” on their bills, consolidating present student activities and technology fees into one line item, rather than representing an additional fee.
Also, resident students will no longer see a “resident services fee,” which will be combined with room and board.
“We run a pretty lean budget around here,” said Cruse. “Dr. Lacey is very concerned about keeping this school affordable.”
Running a lean budget means some things have to be placed on the back burner.
“The administration is very concerned about increases in tuition and how they affect individual students and our challenge is to keep tuition as low as possible while allowing for the necessary funds to operate and improve the university,” Lacey said in an email. “Many items that would be nice to fund go unfunded every year according to the priorities that we establish.”
Cruse said the concern he and Lacey share for individual students and how they are affected by tuition increases was the basis for his decision to send emails directly informing students, calling it a “proactive move.”
“I don’t like it very much but I understand why they need to do it,” said Lauren Jensen, sophomore music major. “Costs are going up, and if we want to keep the pianos tuned, it costs money.”
Cruse said he has received one phone call so far in response to the increased tuition rates and he said the conversation was positive.
“I appreciate what they are spending the money on but I was hoping not to experience any major cost increases prior to graduation,” said Jessica Kostelic, senior English major. “That said, I think any time you can expand a Christian institution such as this one, it’s a good thing.”
Lacey and Cruse are both aware of the balance that must be struck between growth and affordability.
“President Lacey and our administrators are committed to keeping costs as low as possible and making wise use of resources,” Cruse said.
Updated costs for 2012-2013 can be found at www.mobap.edu/costs.